A bus from West Georgia Technical College was going north on I-81 today when the bus went into the right lane and sideswiped a tractor trailer. The bus then ran off the left side of the road and over corrected and hit an embankment, flipping over.
The bus was carrying 13 college students and all suffered non life threatening injuries and were treated in local hospitals. The bus wreck happened on I-81 at mile marker 104.
The bus driver was placed under arrest and was charged with DUI and and possession of marijuana. He was taken to the New River Regional Jail in Pukaski County, Virginia. The state police are checking if fatigue played a role in the crash.
As personal injury attorneys who have worked on truck sideswipe cases that lead to death and a $2 million settlement, we are relieved that injuries in this DUI crash were not more serious.
Although drunk driving is not as big of a problem as decades ago, far too many people are injured or killed in these terrible accidents each year. According to MADD, 1/3 of all drivers who are arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders. Also, more than 1.1 million drivers were arrested for drunk driving in 2014, while 800 are injured in DUI crashes each day.
People who are considering drinking and driving should know they face two sets of consequences. First, they can be convicted in criminal court and spend extensive time in jail if they injure or kill someone. When serious injury or death is involved, this is a felony. Having a felony on your record will follow you for the rest of your life.
But that is not all the consequences. You also can be sued in civil court for the damages you caused the other person and/or their family. If the person is seriously injured, you may have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you kill someone in a drunk driving crash, you could face a judgement of millions of dollars in addition to jail time.
It sounds as if the people in this accident above were not injured too severely. But there still could be several civil lawsuits that come out of this DUI crash. The fact that the college employed this unreliable and dangerous driver could be the focus of possible litigation in this case.